Archive for April 2011

LAUSD Teachers, Parents, and Students Might Learn From Arizona

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) I keep getting the same complaint from fellow teachers and parents, who think that they and the students will somehow miraculously survive the reductions in forces (rifs) and the havoc it is reeking on public education around this country, if they are just nice and positive in the face of their own imminent professional and intellectual demise, "Lenny, you're not positive." or "You need to emphasize what is good at LAUSD" or "We like what you say, we just don't like how you say it." When in reality, what they don't like is having to get off their respective backsides and actually do something other than listen to themselves talk to people at LAUSD that are clearly not listening. Tonight at Millikan Junior High in the San Fernando Valley, parents, teachers, staff, and students got together to plan and network with a group founded by 7 mothers called Educate Our State who are working for a walkout in all public schools around the state for May 24th.

29

04 2011

A Crash Course for LAUSD's New Superintendent John Deasy

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) LAUSD's new Superintendent John Deasy spoke with members of NewTLA and other LAUSD teachers at the Santee Learning Center today after school. What impressed me the most was when he acknowledged the fact that he, "Didn't have the answer to many of LAUSD's problems." While he is clearly an intelligent man who wants to tap into and facilitate the talents of all LAUSD employees, he still doesn't realize that the culture of LAUSD is a top-down bureaucracy that has steadfastly fought any notion of two-way accountability that might allow Deasy to implement his goal. Just ask Professor Charles Kerschner, who wrote a book about LAUSD, how LAUSD bureaucracy destroyed LEARN reforms in the 1990s. When President Barack Obama first got into the White House, he fought to keep his own Blackberry, because he didn't want to be wholly dependent on the White House inner circle for all of his information. He wanted to be able to access friends and dissident ideas that might have great value, simply because they were not filtered through his bureaucracy.

28

04 2011

THE FORCE TO RECKONED WITH, THE BOYCOTT by Mark Hemphill (La fuerza a tener en cuenta, El Boycott)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) For any reader who hasn't taken out the time to spend five minutes devoted to the articles recently appearing in perdaily.com suggesting the power of a parent and student boycott, you may be missing one of your last chances to save public education and the noble profession of teaching. In fact, before reading any further here, you may wish to go back and first read LAUSD vs. REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE-BOYCOTT?, WILL BLACK AND LATINO PARENTS SUPPORT A BOYCOTT OF LAUSD? and LAUSD BOYCOTT. The language herein is quite colorful but not merely rhetoric. You have to understand the essential principle at work, What's stated are facts and events unfolding even as you read this - if you choose to do so. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that you may know most of it already as do many others and especially if you're in the teaching profession. But that's also the problem. While the feds, the state, and district go about their business of shaving expenses by reducing education to a series of cheaply packaged programs - that only vendors profit from - and teaching to a rating scale of performance against the criteria of these programs, we all stand by waiting for someone else to do something about it because we correctly realize that others see what we see.

27

04 2011

Will Black and Latino Parents Support a Boycott of LAUSD? ( Los padres Negro y Latino Apoyar a un boicot del LAUSD?)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) In a school district like the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) with a combined Latino and Black student population of close to 90%, several important questions were brought up when we met last Friday, April 22nd to explore whether Latino and Black students and parents would support a boycott of LAUSD in an attempt to finally hold corrupt and self-serving LAUSD administration and the politicians and corporate interests that keep them in power accountable to this majority constituency.

26

04 2011

LAUSD Boycott

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) You have no expectation that criminals act rationally, so why would you think that the logic of firing one principal instead of 3 teachers would make any sense to the not so petty criminals running LAUSD and public school districts like it around the United States. These people could never have gotten or continued to maintain their corrupt power over generations of students and their parents, if they were not protected by politicians at both the state and federal level, who are themselves put in power by corporations that want to privatize public education to monetize the potential $250-370 billion a year business of public education, while dumbing the citizenry down to eliminate dissent.. Google Professor Lois Weiner and neo-liberal agenda. Maybe after you read this you will not expect to be treated fairly and might finally decide to do something before it is too late.

25

04 2011

LAUSD vs. REBELS WITH A CAUSE - BOYCOTT?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Here is a riddle for you: What does all opposition to LAUSD endemic corruption have in common? Answer: It only responds to LAUSD's malicious and premeditated incompetence and harassment and never makes LAUSD administrative leadership face the consequences for their bad acts. As you have heard me say before, and which any teacher knows in dealing with their students, if there are no consequences for bad actions, either from students, teachers, or LAUSD's arrogant leadership, then nothing will change. A MODEST PROPOSITION TO TURN THIS SITUATION AROUND- What if students at all schools around LAUSD decided to stage a walkout on the same day, much in the manner that students at Hamilton High School recently did?

15

04 2011

LAUSD- Teachers, once they start coming after you, it never stops (Los maestros del LAUSD, una vez que empiezan a llegar después de ti, que nunca se detiene)

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JOHN GOTTI - NYC OR LA's NEXT SUPERINTENDENT? - "HIGHLY QUALIFIED" (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) In the last couple of months, emboldened by "the dominant narrative" of the corporate media blaming teachers for for their own longstanding incompetence, LAUSD has significantly augmented the number more teachers - especially those at the top of the salary scale - it is going trying to force out of the profession on bogus charges. My email at perdaily has exploded with desperate teachers who have come under attack and don't know what to do. This appears to be motivated by a desperate effort at LAUSD to balance their $408 million deficit, before lower echelon administrators start losing their jobs. The teachers who contact me at perdaily all tell a strikingly similar story of having ridiculous fabricated charges brought against them to try and force them into quitting or early retirement, rather than face the costly hearing process, appeals, and exorbitant lawyers fees and protracted court costs over years on unpaid administrative leave of trying to save their jobs.

14

04 2011

LAUSD ENCOURAGES CHEATING ON ASSESSMENT- AND THEY ARE NOT ALONE (LAUSD ALIENTA TRAMPAS DE EVALUACIÓN Y no están solos)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) If Teacher Paulette Jackson supposedly did not turn in her lesson plans on time, even though she often stayed at school until 10pm preparing for the next day, she was put on unpaid administrative level without benefits and LAUSD moved for her removal as a teacher in complete derogation of a 14 year exemplary career. Dave Peters goes to a school as a substitute and winds up being fired, when a man with an LAUSD visitor's pass on his shirt allegedly touches two of his students. Where was the school's administration? How is a sub supposed to know who is supposed to be on campus? Sorry, not relevant in LAUSD Mike Bujko reports a female assistant principal going into the Boys' Locker Room while the boys were changing and Bujko is harassed and forced into early retirement. Roz Press gets sprayed with a toxic fire extinguisher and has been sick for the last 10 years, but LAUSD goes after her and not the student.

LAUSD Cannot get better if the majority of Whites think like this (LAUSD No se puede mejorar si la mayoría de los blancos piensan así )

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) I received another missive from Jill1975 in our continuing exchange that started because of the Jazmine Williams article on the Huffington Post, about the Hamilton High School walkout to protest draconian LAUSD budget cuts that threaten the very existence of Hamilton's excellent magnet and other programs. As a social studies teacher and student of history, I note that historically the greatest social instability, that is often contemporaneous with the decline of prior societies, comes when not only is there a huge disparity of wealth and education, but also when the more affluent segment of society live in a fantasy land. What follows is more of Jill1975 magical thinking that gives you an insight into the all too common phenomenon of White entitlement and perceived and self-fulfilling minority inferiority, now brought to you by the fully integrated and corrupt administration of LAUSD and other public school districts around the country that continue to fail for generations with no consequences. Could it be that they have the public education system they want?. My response follows. Again, feel free to make your own comments as to what you think of what she writes:.

12

04 2011

LAUSD's Grim Fairy Tale in Braille for Self-Inflicted White Blindness- Think Oedipus (Cuento de hadas Grim LAUSD en Braille para autoinfligidas ceguera blanca Piensa Edipo)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The following is a comment I responded to in the Huffington Post about Jazmine Williams article on the student organized walkout at Hamilton High School that we cover hear at perdaily. Feel free to add your own take on what I believe to be the naive comments of Jill1975 and others, who don't seem to have a clue as to the reality that LAUSD teachers, students, and parents have to deal with on a daily basis. Could it have anything to do with the complete blackout in the mainstream media as to what is really going on?

11

04 2011

Benefit & Fundraiser - Undocumented Student Scholarship Fund (Recaudación de Fondos de Beneficios - Fondo de Becas de Estudiantes Indocumentados)

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(Mensaje se repite en Espanol) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Blacks are some of the first Americans, the difficulty of whose journey has not taken place in one generation, like my family, nor has it seemed to come to an end for most in 400 years. The Reverend Jesse Jackson put it well when he said, "When do we get invited to dinner." Latinos, most of whom have the blood of the indigenous people of the Americas in their veins not only don't get invited to dinner, they have insult added to injury when they have grown and harvest the dinner, built the buildings it is served in, and then clean up the dishes afterward. Those of my people who have not forgotten their own humble beginnings - like some administrators at LAUSD - and search for a better life would call it chutzpah to deny Blacks and Latinos the same dreams their ancestors came for. I once heard somebody give an example of chutzpah as something like killing your parents and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that you are an orphan.

Candari vs. LAUSD - Where you remain guilty even if proven innocent (Candari vs LAUSD - Cuando usted sigue siendo culpable aunque se demuestre lo contrario)

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(Mensaje se repite en Espanol) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) A belated happy birthday to the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Still fighting to make your wisdom and insight a reality in our America. While injustice of any kind is reprehensible, it is my belief that the greatest injustice possible takes place when government authorities abuse there vast power to attack individuals without even the slightest good faith belief that they have done anything wrong. After sitting through the teacher Paulette Jackson's inquisition that was held two weeks ago in the Office of Administrative Hearings, I was curious to find out if the way she had been treated in complete and utter derogation of her civil and property rights was an exception or the rule. Regrettably, what I uncovered was a consistent and undeviating pattern of complete and total disregard of individual LAUSD teachers and classified staff rights. Mampre Polmakian was the LAUSD attorney representing the District against Ms. Jackson in a matter that by all rights should have been handled by UTLA grievance under the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargains Agreement, if UTLA leadership wasn't so clearly in collusion with LAUSD against its own members.

7

04 2011

LAUSD Needs to Know "What Teachers Make" Video by Taylor Mali (LAUSD debe saber "Lo que los maestros hacer" Vídeo de Malí Taylor)

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(Mensaje se repite en Espanol) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Often when people find out that I went to law school, they look at me rather quizzically and in disbelief and ask, "Why would you want to be a teacher?" Something I take the humorous approach and respond by saying, "California doesn't need another Jewish attorney." At other times when I reflect on what this means in terms of the value our society gives to teachers, I am saddened by a materialism that thinks it can define success by how much money you make. I just celebrated my 64th birthday last Friday and although it will probably get me labeled un-American, probably the least important thing to me at this point in my life is making more money - although I plan on pursuing the salary and benefits that LAUSD has taken from me by removing me from teaching on trumped up charges.

6

04 2011

Is LAUSD Above the Law? by Roz Press (Es LAUSD encima de la ley por Roz Press)

(Mensaje se repite en Espanol) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) MY HORRENDOUS STORY: I am all too familiar with LAUSD's inhumane treatment of teachers that have been attacked at school. On Dec. 8, 2000 a student in my class attacked me in class. My life and health changed forever. Before the attack I worked everyday at Sepulveda Middle School in North Hills CA. I was a fully credentialed contract teacher and I was a very happy, healthy and positive person with the energy of 100 people. I taught 5 or 6 classes a day with almost 40 students in every class. On Dec. 8, 2000 I was attacked in my classroom by one of my students who sprayed me in my face with the toxic chemicals from a fire extinguisher. The principal, Mrs Charness, never called the paramedics even though I was gasping for air.
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4

04 2011

MAINSTREAM MEDIA DISTORTS REALITY TO JUSTIFY THE FAILURE OF LAUSD AND UTLA HAS GONE ALONG FOR THE RIDE (Los Principales de Media distorsiona la realidad para justificar el incumplimiento del LAUSD y UTLA HA IDO adelante para el paseo)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) What is very popular in the mainstream media these days is using the false dichotomy to misdirect the reader or listener away from other possibly more viable alternatives by failing to acknowledge that they even exist. A relative simple and straight forward example of this phenomenon could be seen on the March 30, 2011 Patt Morrison show on KPCC where the topic had to do with whether half-day or full day kindergarten was better for young students, who came most likely from lower socio-economic families where standard English (or Spanish for that matter) was not the language spoken in the home. Throughout the 20 minutes or so devoted to this segment Patt Morrison carefully steered the conversation between the supposedly exclusive positives and negatives of either option without ever addressing whether some other factors might also be at play.

1

04 2011